AHMEDABAD/NEW DELHI: That Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP President Amit Shah are nervous about the Gujarat Assembly polls is a given. BJP leaders also acknowledge this maintaining however that the party will win. But what about the margin, will you lose seats? And here there is a slight shuffling of feet, as the fight back by the three young caste leaders and the Congress seems to have raised doubts about the margin of victory, and whether the BJP share will drop in this tally.

The nervousness is evident in the government's decision to postpone the winter session of Parliament to after the second and last phase of polling in Gujarat on December 14. The Citizen brings together five reasons for this nervousness, that is growing instead of easing with every passing day:

1. No card played by the BJP has worked so far. The attack on Congress leader Ahmed Patel by Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani for having Islamic State connections did not stick, in fact became a bit of joke in the state. The sex video of Patidar leader Hardik Patel did not even serve as a minor obstacle in his campaign, with the voters discarding it altogether according to the BJP’s own assessment. And now the temple card questioning whether Rahul Gandhi is a Hindu or not has again not excited the voters, most of whom remain indifferent to an issue that the BJP itself admits it might have drawn mileage from in 2014. But clearly no longer.

2. The Gujarat model of development seems to have been finally punctured with GST and demonetisation. The two economic measures that the PM was so vocal about have been dropped by him in his poll campaign altogether, with his only references now being to the failures of the Congress on the development front. The positive spin that the BJP had hoped to give to these two issues has turned totally negative.

3. Chief Minister Rupani is in trouble in his own constituency according to reports. The Congress candidate Indranil Rajguru is giving a tough fight, having shifted from his earlier constituency to take on the CM who is directly in the dock insofar as the Gujarat voters are concerned. The BJP knows this and seems a bit helpless in West Rajkot, at least till this moment.

4. This is the first election after 2002 where the communal card is not working for the BJP. In fact, Hardik Patel and Jignesh Mevani have been responsible for this by constantly warning the voters about the BJP’s tendency to divide the communities to divert attention from the economic distress. The BJP campaign that the Congress will bring in the Muslims if it comes to power has so far, not cut into the people’s concerns about livelihood and employment.

5. The concerted attack on the BJP is clearly unexpected, with Rahul Gandhi getting traction, and the 3 Gujarati leaders Hardik Patel, Alpesh Thakor and Jignesh Mevani launching a no holds barred attack on the PM himself. In fact PM Modi is being targeted by all, with Hardik Patel now warning the Patidars about his sense of histrionics, asking them not to be fooled if the Prime Minister “falls unconscious” at some meeting to gain their sympathy. Rahul Gandhi has also taken this forward by saying that PM Modi is a better actor than Amitabh Bachchan. This has also cut into the Prime Minister's campaign style. Sources said that the PM could never imagine that he would become the subject of such ridicule in his home state.